Dream Big & Buy The Shoes

July 27, 2016

Family Photos: Wedding Wednesday

Today's Wedding Wednesday post has me smiling thinking back to how this all went down. Between the both of us, Chuck and I have a rather large, interesting family...lots of people involved from different sides.
We chose to do the family pictures outside, in the front of our reception venue. We wanted our family who wasn't part of the bridal party to be able to go inside and enjoy cocktail hour while the rest of us went to the top of the resort to take more pictures.

Chuck, Ethan and I stood in the middle and our family literally lined up to the left of us while I yelled for people to come in to the shot so the photographers could snap and go. Our family was entering in from the left, smiling, then exiting to the right. It looked like some sort of movie set with people everywhere scattered around the front lawn. Thinking about how easily and effectively it all ran makes me laugh because there were so many people everywhere, but somehow we pulled it off.

Chuck, My Gram & I
Chuck, My Nanu (Italian for Grandfather) & I

My Mom's side of the family...the Palombi side

My Dad's side...the Woodruff's. My Dad, Stepmom & Brother

The parents!

Chuck & I with his Mom and Stepfather

The Lawrence side from North Carolina including Chuck's brother, sister, our brother in-law and niece & flower girl

With Chuck's Dad & Stepmom

The Lawrence Men

Chuck's Mom's side of the family

Chuck and his sisters with Ethan

A few months ago my grandparents celebrated their 59th wedding anniversary, and I was looking through these family pictures that morning. Not exaggerating, I have probably looked at these pictures a couple hundred times in the past 10 months. That day I saw something for the first time in the background and was instantly brought to tears. Do you see the butterfly in the right corner of every picture? Remember the butterfly release we did at our ceremony? That's my Mom. Making sure she was included in our family pictures. 
My Gram often sits outside and ever since my mom passed away butterflies flock to her. She always tells me about how they sit by her, on her arm, or on her shoe. We know it's her telling us she's okay and bringing us peace. 
I couldn't believe my eyes when I looked through the pictures that morning. I called my Gram right away and couldn't even talk I was crying so hard. I believe in signs and this totally was one. I still get chills looking at these pictures now that I see my Mom there with us. 

Thank you for sharing in another Wedding Wednesday with me. I appreciate your sweet comments each week, XO!

Wedding Wednesday in week's past...in case you missed it:

Details & Vendors:
Photography: R. Frank Photography
Cake & Cupcakes: Allie Cakes
The Dress: Bridal Elegance
Bride's Shoes: Badgley Mischka (similar)
Bride's Clutch: Rent The Runway
Groom & Best Man  Shoes: Nike Lockwood
Flowers: Afloral (handmade bouquets by the Bride)
Bridesmaid Dresses: Weddington Way
Bridesmaid Earrings: Frou Frou & Frill
Butterflies: Shallowtail Farms

To Travel & Beyond

July 25, 2016

How To Adjust To A New Schedule

I find that often when people are changing schedules, whether it be at their job, with their children, or getting in a new routine due to a change in their lives they often apologize to others for not being as present as they once were.

I've changed schedules quite a few times. When Ethan goes back to school each year, it's a change...the start of a new routine. My husband has recently received a promotion (woo-hoo Chuck!) and yet again, our schedule is being tweaked. It's hard. It takes a toll not only on your body, but your mind as well. While going through all of this I found a few ways that can help you adjust if you're taking on a change or new schedule.

1. Get your sleep
Think you only need 6-7 hours of sleep a night? You may be used to functioning on that much, but if you have recently changed your daily routine- chances are your bedtime routine needs switched up too. Go to bed early. Stay off that phone, and turn off the TV. Drift off to dreamland without electronics and get some solid shut-eye...a full 8 hours is best, for at least a few weeks. If you're like me, this needs to happen every night...forever. If you typically run on a shorter amount your body will get back in the swing of things after a few weeks of adjustment.

2. Clear your schedule
Are you a social butterfly? I love participating in a good happy hour or having plans with friends for a midweek pick me up. In this case, it's not always the best when you're adjusting to a new routine. You need time to focus, unwind, rest and refresh yourself. Take it easy and clear that social calendar for a while. Get together on the weekend. Maybe only run one errand after your day then head home to rest. Don't over commit yourself while you're adjusting, it's just too much. Don't feel bad, you need time to focus on you. True friends will understand.

3. Prepare for success
Establish a routine within your routine. Everyone is more successful when they have a plan, it's true. Whether it's setting your clothes out for the week, prepping lunches or starting your day with a big glass of warm lemon water...find out what works best for you and your body. When I wake up and my routine is thrown out of whack, my whole day seems to be crazy. It may take a few extra minutes, but line up your priorities and needs and get on schedule. For me, it's having my clothes and accessories already laid out, my lunch packed, any extra items I need for work being set out on the dining room table and getting out the door 5 minutes early. 

4. Give yourself time
Not only do you need time to relax, you need time within this new schedule to fully adjust. Get in your routine for a few weeks, slow down, figure it all out...no one is rushing you to get with the new program. I used to work one night a week, and I swear once I switched to an all daytime schedule it took me a good 3 weeks to feel like everything was right again. Even though it was a positive switch for the better of my overall liking, it still took time to be fully awake those Wednesday mornings and not like I should be on the couch answering blog e-mails from my laptop. It's okay though, we all need time to get in the groove. 

Remembering these four steps will help you feel better about the adjustment and remind you that it's okay. You may feel pressure internally or from others, but keep these things in mind and you will be adjusted in no time at all.

What's your best tip for adjusting to a new schedule?

July 22, 2016

If You Like Horrors & Memoirs & More....

Recently I've taken my Bookworm title back from the hole it was hiding in. I used to read ALL. THE. TIME. At one point I stopped devoting so much time to it, and I'm not sure how it happened. But I'm back, and setting the time aside to get lost in a good book is so much fun.

I thought I would review and share about a few books I've read lately and hopefully do this on an on-going basis. I love getting suggestions from other bloggers so maybe I'll recommend something you may want to read yourself.

You, Caroline Kepnes 5/5

I loved this book. Ashley, from The Wandering Weekenders had mentioned it in a review and I checked it out on Goodreads and decided it definitely needed to be read. It's a psychological thriller about a man Joe, who works in a bookstore and his latest obsession- a beauty that goes by the name of Beck. Joe goes to every length to stalk her and becomes very descriptive in his thoughts. I couldn't put this one down, and finished it in just a few days because I came so enthralled in it. If you love horrors, you'll enjoy this. It's a twisted story, but definitely will make you aware of what you put out there for the world to see in terms of social media. 

Bulletproof, Maci Bookout 4/5

If you have gathered anything about me if you follow on Twitter, then you know I love reality TV. I have watched Teen Mom for years, and always enjoyed Maci's story. She seemed to really have it together despite the troubles she has gone through. I've been wanting to read this for a while and finally did...and it didn't disappoint. While it didn't have me thinking "Oooh what happens next?" it was definitely interesting to hear her thoughts while going through the pregnancy, including how she told her parents as a teenager. I liked this book because it solidified what I like about Maci, and that she has a good head on her shoulders.

Pretty Baby, Mary Kubica 4/5

They said if you liked Girl On The Train, you would enjoy Pretty Baby. I was hoping I wouldn't figure out what was going to happen fairly early on, like I did with Girl On The Train and was happy that didn't happen. This story is about a girl named Willow who is found again after a woman named Heidi catches a glimpse of her from a train. Heidi can't stop thinking about Willow, and the baby she was clutching in her arms. Heidi goes to crazy lengths to take Willow in despite what her family thinks, and the story ends in a way I never saw coming. 

No One Knows, J.T. Ellison 5/5

This has been my favorite read so far the last few months, hands down. Another one I couldn't put down and led me to a night of only 4 hours of sleep it was so good. This story was so sad from the beginning, as it describes what happened the night Aubrey's husband died. No one knows how he died, but when he is finally declared dead by the state she tries to move forward with her life. As she questions everything and thinks about the past as she attempts to live her life. It's hard for her to get through the day to day since she was a major suspect in his murder and still no one knows how it all happened. I was completely shocked by the ending...too good to be true. I would totally read this book all over again. It's like the movies you watch and then re-watch to see if you can catch anything you didn't the first time. A must read!

Turning The Tables: From Housewife to Inmate and Back Again, Teresa Giudice  3/5

Anyone that watches The Real Housewives of New Jersey reality TV show knows that Teresa doesn't have the best way with words. She's often the brunt of jokes for her quirky made up words and phrases that don't make any sense. Because of that I went in to reading this book with no high expectations of grammar, sorry...just being honest. It was okay. Yes, the grammar and writing itself wasn't the best. I did appreciate her telling her story of being behind bars and what she's learned from this entire legal battle. She was imprisoned for fifteen months after being convicted for federal charges. She tells of her life growing up Italian, building her life with her husband, the fame and craziness behind the #RHONJ show on Bravo and more. I really enjoyed her positivity throughout, and think it helped her survive and come out on top. If you're a fan of the show, you may enjoy this light-hearted read too. 

I have a handful of others to review so I'll do that in another post so this one doesn't get too long. As you can see my tastes are kind of all over the place, but my favorite reads are horror and crime stories. I would love to make book reviews a regular thing around here because I'm really enjoying reading again as I've learned to set aside some time for myself to dive in to a good read. 
I love following my friends on Goodreads, so definitely add me there so I can see what you're reading too. 

What's your favorite read lately?

July 20, 2016

Birthday Lessons

Today's a great day, because it's my birthday! That may sound a little crazy, but hear me out---I love celebrating...ANYTHING. I'm always down for a good time, some balloons, and a cocktail or two.

I thought I would share some lessons learned over the past year, because what's getting another year older if you're not getting wiser?!

Time doesn't heal all wounds, but it's okay. 
So many people told me when my Mom passed away that life would get easier as time went on. Those people haven't walked in my shoes. I think in fact, it's harder. To realize what I put her through now that I'm a parent makes me appreciate her a million times more, and she's not here to pay back. The path through of life is more vivid now that I'm an adult and seeing all the things she could be a part of and isn't is really tough. I try not to dwell on it, because that's no way to live life and she wouldn't want me to. Rather, I am trying to continue to find myself, be over the moon happy and live this beautiful life in a great way each and every day.

Slowing down isn't a bad thing.
I've learned to say no and not over commit myself. I go to bed earlier. I don't go to the bar every weekend. They say slowing down is a sign of getting older, well that's okay by me. I used to feel very stressed when I would say yes to everything that came up. I felt like I had to. Saying no and slowing down has made me much more calm and it doesn't mean I'm a bad person. Slowing down, looking around and enjoying what's around me is really great.

Hard work pays off.
It's not always who you know. The old fashioned hard work does matter. I've always believed that in the end your hard work will pay off, and it rang true this year. I've worked my butt off to be where I am, and while my vision isn't the same one others may see...I am happy. Dream big, but work for what you want. Success comes when you put in the hours and get after it.

Dreams change. 
I used to dream of being a writer for a magazine in NYC. Now, I dream of a nice house with a goldendoodle and taking trips to beautiful places I never thought I could. My dreams consist of helping make the ones I love dreams come true too. Ethan's dream a few years ago was to swim with dolphins. Seeing his face when we went to the Bahamas and hug that dolphin made every penny worth it. My dreams came true becoming a wife too, because I never thought I could find someone to put up with my crazy ass. Seriously, I didn't have little girl dreams of a wedding and wearing a white dress...I literally thought it was out of my reach. That changed when I met Chuck, and now that man who is my husband helps me continue to dream big.

I don't mind getting older. 
I love sitting in on a Saturday night and hanging out watching a movie. Grocery shopping on a Friday night sounds peaceful. I also have really found out who I am and love owning every piece of me. I'm not ashamed to admit I'm loud and bold...it's me. I love hard, I dream big, I get excited about really little things...but it's who I am. I'm still learning lessons and finding out things the hard way, but that's a part of it all in the end. The journey is wonderful.  Life is great, and I can't wait to see what this next year brings.

Thank you all for being a part of my journey. I'm seriously a lucky woman and when I step back and look at how my life is going, I'm extremely thankful for every moment...big and small. I appreciate you taking the time to come here and read what I have to say...if you take one thing away from any of this...Dream BIG friends. XO!